Saudi Arabia is Changing
Over the last few years, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been building a new future. A country that is known for its tremendous wealth, Saudi Arabia has spent much of its existence focused on Islamic tradition, but has recently been moving towards a more progressive and modern culture under the controversial but inarguably effective Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salaman, or MBS for short. This growing national energy towards a more global and culturally liberal Saudi Arabia has fueled a larger patriotic pride among the Middle East, as well as a growing international tourism industry and social capital.
According to Saudi Arabia’s National Unified Portal for Government Services, the country aims to “attract over 100 million annual tourist visits by 2030”, which will make it the most visited country in the world. This goal, and many others, are all part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “Saudi Vision 2030”, which is a holistic and revolutionary strategy to reduce the country’s economic dependence on oil by invigorating a multitude of societal factors such as women’s rights, entertainment, and various industrial infrastructures.
What Is There to Do In Saudi?
Having just visited the country myself, I can personally attest to the growing cultural positivity and acceptance claimed by the Saudi government. Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Middle East, and has an expanding list of must-see destinations for your next cruise to Arabia. Within my 2-week stay, I managed to visit only a few of the famous and beautiful places Saudi Arabia has to offer. I stayed in the port city of Jeddah, which is on the coast of the Red Sea. Jeddah is also Saudi Arabia’s busiest sea port, and according to the World Shipping Council saw over 4.43 million cargo containers in 2019 alone. I most enjoyed exploring the old part of Jeddah, called “Al Balad”, which was declared a UNESCO world heritage site. Al Balad, with artisanal marketplaces, beautiful mosques and friendly people, gave me a glimpse into Saudi’s historic architecture and is definitely worth a visit.
Another part of Saudi Arabia I highly recommend you visit is the Desert. There are 5 main deserts in Saudi Arabia, and I was lucky enough to visit the central Desert called “Ad Dahna”, above the capital city Riyadh. Sprawling dunes, soft orange sand, and thousands of camels, the Saudi desert is more beautiful than you can even imagine, and is something I will never forget. Do not venture into the desert alone, however, as it can be very easy to get lost!
Another must-see in Saudi Arabia is the city of AlUla. AlUla, an oasis located in the Medina province, was not known to the general public until recently, and has quickly become the most important city for Saudi’s tourism, international art scene, and archeological renaissance. In the 12th century, AlUla was one of the major settlements along the pilgrimage route to Mecca, and the ‘Old Town’ of AlUla even housed the Prophet Mohammed for three days according to the Quran. AlUla, with its breathtaking ancient tombs that rival those in Petra, Jordan or Cairo, Egypt, is an absolute must on your next trip to Arabia.
The food in Saudi Arabia is also worth a mention. As a vegan myself, I found the various cuisines of Saudi to be extremely accommodating and delicious. I particularly enjoyed eating Ful, which is a classic dish made of Fava Beans and a variation of spices. Ful is usually accompanied by hot Tamees, a Saudi flatbread baked in a tandoor oven. If you eat meat, you will likely find the Saudi menu even more flattering. Saudi Arabian cuisine has world renowned chicken shawarmas, camel barbecues, and lamb kabsa to name a few.
Overall, the country of Saudi Arabia has become exponentially more enticing for the tourists of the world who wish to experience arabian culture, and I personally cannot advocate enough for Saudi to be in your travel plans.
Cruising to Saudi Arabia
Major cruise lines such as MSC are already providing trips to Saudi Arabia along the Red Sea. As the country continues to develop their tourism infrastructure, more and more voyages will certainly be scheduled by the cruise industry’s top lines in the coming years.
If you are interested in taking a cruise to the Middle East and Saudi Arabia, there is one piece of information you should know:
If you get injured on board a cruise ship, regardless of where in the world you are, you will likely have to file your claim in Federal Court in Miami, FL. Our office, staffed with experienced maritime attorneys who have been leading the fight against major cruise lines, is located a short drive from the Port of Miami and Federal court house. We have been representing injured passengers for decades, and have forced negligent corporations like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania, MSC, Princess Cruises, and more into high-rate settlements and successful jury trials.
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